The Los Angeles Galaxy on Wednesday introduced Lothar Osiander as its coach, and the former U.S. national and Olympic team mentor wasted no time in stirring things up.
Fielding questions with ease and humor, Osiander, 56, gave notice that no matter how successful his Major League Soccer team is, he will be quotable.
A few examples:
What does he think of playing at the Rose Bowl, where the Galaxy will open April 13 at 7 p.m. against the New York-New Jersey Metro Stars?
“I would rather have had a smaller stadium. As a coach I like to be closed in with spectators. At the Rose Bowl, unfortunately, we’ll be closed in by a lot of tarps. The tarps are fine. I don’t know what the acoustics will be like, but it will be interesting.”
How does he feel about having to draft players from a pool rather than signing them at will?
“That concept is brand new to soccer. I’ll have to experience it to see whether it has value. I think it brings parity into the league, but it also takes away from what I should have [freedom to build a team].
“I think the idea merits a try, but as an old-fashioned-type coach I am not all that enthusiastic about it. We’ll see what happens. It could be so successful that they’ll start doing it in Europe. It could also be a failure.”
What does he feel about the 88 players signed by MLS?
“I think 60% or 70% are our best players. The other 30% are players who are on the borderline and I think will be replaced eventually.
“Of the 88, only about eight are forwards, and three of them I don’t like.”
What about his own team?
“I have only one player [Mexican goalkeeper Jorge Campos], but if he was here, we’d have a training session. . . . I think he’s a little short, but he plays outstanding with his feet. He may solve a problem for me [by playing as a forward].
Will he be able to handle the temperamental Campos?
“Absolutely. He’s 5 foot 6. I’m 6 foot.”
Is he going to be able to maintain his sense of humor?
“It depends how many games we lose.”